Updated: May 21
What happened? Wasn’t Trump and his cohorts supposed to disappear after Biden won the election. I imagined them playing golf and then fading away as the year ended . No such luck. And that’s not really the worst part. The millions who worship him are just as devoted as before the election.
It’s not that easy to acknowledge that there is no “away” where we could put evil. “Away” doesn’t exist. Things just go someplace else. We do try. We tried to dispense with the evil of killing 2 million civilians in Vietnam by honoring our veterans, We tried to by-pass the evil of destroying wildlife habitats by focusing on the joys of Disney World.
After the liberation movements in the 60s and 70’s, reactionaries elected Ronald Reagan to block the promise of equal rights and a viable habitat. Reactionaries reappeared after the election of Barak Obama, and then ignited the ambers of racism and white resentment, which carried Trump into the White House. His overt racism and white rage made Reagan look like a weasel. In fact, Trump has committed acts that should have brought him before the International Criminal Court.
Still, It would be a mistake to take Trump as the source of evil. Trump is more of a parasite than a host. He may feed off evil, but he’s not the source.
So, where does this evil come from? If we did not know its source, we might say it’s from some metaphysical beings such as the devil or a vengeful god. But we know the answer. It’s from the Atlantic commerce of enslaved people and appropriated lands that made America what is it today. These violations of humanity created a climate of injustice that is the American context.
We have never repaired these violations of humanity and we have not stopped them. We could get that evil off our shoulders, not by throwing it away, but rather by taking it in and making amends. So far, when people have moved in that direction, reactionaries have risen up to block their efforts, and thereby have made our evils even more resilient. If we have learned anything since the election, it is that Trump and his believers are not going away.
I didn’t see it coming. And I couldn’t imagine Trump totally captivating the Republican party. If it had not been for the pandemic, he might have won another 4 years. We need to be on guard We have to change the social climate—to a climate of justice—so Trumpers will stay inside.